As the days on my 2011 calendar have flown away, I’ve started wondering why we make such a big deal about the New Year.
On one hand, it’s easy to say the proverbial slate has been wiped clean. The first day of January means a new tax year, and it’s a good day to decide you’ll stop munching on all those Christmas goodies. And I love a champagne toast and a fancy dinner just as much as the next gal, but the truth is that the calendar changes constantly.
We don’t celebrate the changing of the days, weeks or months with the same vigor that we do the year, yet for some reason hoards of people are willing to spend money they may not have and hoot and holler as they count down: “Five – four – three – two – one – HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
In search for meaning, I looked up some New Year’s traditions and found some quirky ones that I’ve never heard before. Apparently our need to yell comes from an old belief that evil spirits were easily deterred by loud sounds. Or is it more that living spirits are easily riled with loud sounds?
People also used to believe the best way to ward off bad luck and misfortune in the coming year was to stock their cupboards (beginning a journey without supplies is bad luck, they say) and have a clean house.
After reading these traditions, I decided that it certainly can’t help me to start my “clean slate” with a clean house, too. But what about the most heralded of traditions – the New Year’s Resolution?
Every gym I’ve ever belonged to is always packed at the beginning of January, but the crowds dwindle as they lose their resolve and realize that it takes a lot more than the changing of the year to break preexisting bad habits, and it’s no secret that many other resolutions often go by the wayside.
So why, then, do we make these pacts with ourselves? I’ve long held the belief that resolutions are silly, and yet I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ways I’d like to enhance my quality of life. So now I’m faced with the nagging question: To resolve, or not to resolve?
What do you think? Will you be making any New Year’s resolutions?